A cast-iron skillet can be one of the most versatile tools in your Peyton kitchen. If you are just beginning to work with cast iron pans, you may have some questions about how to cook with and care for your pan. While there are a few things you definitely should know before you cook with cast iron for the first time, once you follow these few easy steps, you will be reaching for this pan every time you have to prepare a culinary masterpiece.
The first thing to know about cast iron is that there is a wide range of skillet types and sizes. You should use the right size cast iron pan for the dish you want to make. Most professional chefs recommend a 10-inch skillet for everyday use. However, you should know that some cast iron pans can weigh up to 25 pounds! Unless you are cooking large quantities on a regular basis, the 10-inch pan would do.
Most manufacturers recommend that you “season” your cast iron pan before using it for the first time. Cast iron works best when it has a hard, nonstick surface. You can create this with some oil and your oven. To season a cast iron pan, all you need to do is rub a light coat of vegetable oil over both the inside and outside of your pan. Then, place the pan upside-down in a 500-degree oven for about an hour. The best thing about cast iron cooking is that this seasoning process occurs naturally every time you make chicken or steak in it. From the fat of the meat, a new coating is added to the pan’s surface. This will make your pan work even better.
When you have prepared your cast iron, you can begin cooking. As you are planning each dish, you should remember that there are some foods you shouldn’t make in a cast iron pan. Scrambled eggs and cast iron pans don’t go well together as they tend to bond with the iron, making it really hard to clean up. Tomato sauce should also not be cooked in this pan since the acidity in the tomatoes will lend a metallic flavor to your dish. Also, avoid using a cast iron pan to cook salmon or any other oily fish. The oils will bond with the pan’s surface and make everything you cook in the pan after that taste fishy. One dish you can make in a cast iron pan is cinnamon rolls. But if you make the rolls in a pan after cooking fish, the rolls will taste like salmon. Most people wouldn’t enjoy bread with a fish flavor.
To ensure that your first attempt at cooking with cast iron is a success, here are more important tips to remember. First, pre-heat your pan before you cook anything. Beginners often forget to heat the pan before putting any food in it, resulting in, at best, longer cooking times, and at worst, burnt or inedible food. If you burn something in a cast iron pan, you must not soak the pan in water to remove it. Alternatively, you can use a salt scrub to clean your cast iron pan. Most cooks scrub their cast iron pan with salt and half a potato to clean it. Then just wipe it with a little dish soap and water. Using soap or soaking the pan in water could damage the pan’s coating.
It’s that easy! With these simple tips, you’ll soon be a cast-iron pro. Would you like to learn more about how to care for and maintain other items in your house properly? Call us at 719-471-7368 or contact us online today!
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